Posted December 11, 2013 by James Rhodes in Health Information

Bacteria lurking in your home plumbing

Numerous people are already familiar with the rewards of soft water for their skin and hair and how it considerably reduces power consumption and increases the life of heaters, appliances and residence plumbing. But what most individuals are entirely unaware of is the ability for soft water to stop microbial contamination in plumbing, hence minimizing the consumer&rsquos exposure to pathogenic bacteria such as Legionella, which can trigger Legionnaire&rsquos disease. This investigation was found by the College of Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University.

The piping used in home plumbing, regardless of whether it is copper or PVC, has quite smooth interior surfaces which don&rsquot permit bacteria to settle and grow. Nonetheless, more than time, difficult water results in scale formation on the interior surfaces of these pipes and that offers a best residence for bacteria. This dilemma can be rather widespread as nearly 90 percent of American houses have tough water – water containing higher levels of calcium and magnesium, according to The U.S. Geological Survey.

The Arizona State University researchers located that microbial biofilms do not form on pipes that have no scale on them but can grow on both normal pipes filled with hard scale and soft scale. Soft scale is developed with some types of water conditioning. This converts the water hardness minerals into a type of scale that remains in an amorphous mass inside the plumbing. Tough scale forms crystals that adhere strongly to the plumbing surface. Each difficult and soft varieties of scale showed a equivalent tendency to assistance the growth of microbial films in the research.

The only solution is to get rid of the scaling in the pipes completely and only a classic water softener can do that. These perform by running the incoming challenging water by way of a resin filter that traps the calcium and magnesium in the water – as properly as any iron, manganese or radium ions – and replaces them with sodium ions. A lot of of the option water conditioners do not fully take away these harmful hard minerals.

The occurrence of biofilms can cause serious hygienic problems in water systems. The improvement of biofilms depends on a range of elements such as water flow prices as well as the different plumbing materials. When pathogenic microbes inhabit these biofilms, house plumbing ends up being an perfect residence with a direct line of speak to with humans. Colonization of plumbing by disease-causing bacteria is effectively-documented, particularly in hospital buildings and hotels. As soon as in the piping, the bacteria can be distributed via the showerheads. The hot water and steam designed are then inhaled along with the bacteria, increasing the risk of exposure to shoppers.

This study is the initial one to demonstrate the important benefits of classic water softeners to stop the development of biofilms in home plumbing. You can test your water oneself to check for hardness with house water testing kits or you can have a water therapy skilled do the testing. The Water Top quality Association has a webpage enabling searches by company name, state or ZIP code. For much more info on water softening, check out www.saltinstitute.org.

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James Rhodes